Week Ending April 30, 2021

by PICPA Government Relations | Apr 30, 2021


2020 CPA-PAC Report Released

The Certified Public Accountant Political Action Committee (CPA-PAC) – PICPA’s political arm specifically representing CPAs in Pennsylvania – plays an integral part in PICPA’s government affairs efforts by striving to promote and improve state government. Through the CPA-PAC, PICPA members are able to take a more active role on issues and activities that affect Pennsylvania and its citizenry.

We offer a special thanks to all those who made a CPA-PAC contribution in 2020. Through these generous contributions, the CPA-PAC raised more than $214,000. Notably, the number of contributions in each giving level increased significantly, and total contributions from individuals of up to $500 increased by roughly $14,000. These funds supported more than 100 elected officials and various campaign committees representing both parties. Most importantly, it helped the CPA profession maintain an influential presence in Harrisburg.

The PICPA also offers special thanks to our CPA-PAC board members who donated their time and expertise to overseeing our efforts throughout the 2020 year. Read more in the 2020 CPA-PAC Annual Report.

A tumultuous election cycle has put political action committees in some negative light. To address these concerns and provide a background on the CPA-PAC and the important work we do, Peter Calcara, vice president of government affairs, and Alex Fabian, manager of government affairs, posted this CPA Now blog.

The support we receive for the CPA-PAC is truly invaluable as we navigate this period of change. We hope you know that, as a member of the PICPA, you and the firms you represent play a valuable role in this process, and for that we thank you.

But keeping our voice vital in Harrisburg is a continuous effort. Please consider making a 2021 contribution to the CPA-PAC.

 

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A Look Ahead at the Week of May 3

State House lawmakers return to session the week of May 3. The Senate is not in session. There are a number of committee meetings and public hearings of note.

On May 3, the House Commerce Subcommittee on Financial Services and Banking convenes a public hearing to discuss proposed legislation on permitting mortgage originators and other employees of a licensee to work from remote locations. The House State Government Committee will consider House Bill 1264, a bill creating the COVID-19 Pandemic Response Act. The measure is sponsored by Rep. Clint Owlett (D-Tioga, Bradford, Potter).

The House Labor and Industry Committee meets May 4 to consider legislation (House Bill 406) to require the state Department of Labor and Industry to reinstitute the work search and CareerLink registration requirements for unemployment compensation claimants.

On May 5, the House Finance Committee will meet for a public hearing on tax credit reform with the state Department of Revenue. The Commerce Committee will consider several bills, including House Bill 537, sponsored by Rep. Joseph Ciresi (D-Montgomery), legislation creating a $50 million grant program for small businesses making less than $3 million in gross annual receipts or employing up to 30 full-time employees.

Get a complete look at committee meetings and hearings scheduled for this week.

 

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Risler Renominated to State Accountancy Board

Sheri Risler, CPA, of Lafayette Hill, Pa., has been renominated by Gov. Tom Wolf for a second term on the State Board of Accountancy.

Risler is an associate professor of practice in the accounting department at the Fox School of Business and Management at Temple University in Philadelphia. Prior to joining the faculty, Risler was an audit partner with the Philadelphia office of Ernst &Young where she provided a broad range of services to entrepreneurial, middle market and public companies.

Risler has been a member of the State Board of Accountancy since March 2017. 

 

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Performance-Based Budgeting Board Convenes

The state Performance-Based Budget Board convened three days of public hearings to review several of the state’s tax credit programs as well as the budgets of some of the state’s agencies.

On April 26, the board focused on several tax credit programs, including the Neighborhood Assistance Program, the Resource Enhancement and Protection Program, the Entertainment Economic Enhancement Program, Video Game Production, and Keystone Special Development Zones. The board reviewed reports by the Independent Fiscal Office (IFO) on each.

On April 27, the board resumed with its review of the budgets of the Department of Transportation and the Department of Human Services, and, on April 28, looked at the Pennsylvania State Police and the Department of Military and Veterans Affairs.

This is the third year of IFO reviews. 

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Bucks Delegation Demands Philadelphia Reimburse Suburban Commuters

A bipartisan group of legislators from Bucks County sent a letter to Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney seeking reimbursement for suburban commuters who worked from home during the COVID-19 pandemic.  

Employees who are nonresidents of Philadelphia and work in the city are subject to the Philadelphia Wage Tax at a rate of 3.5019%. Employees who did not work in the city on a particular day are not legally required to pay the city wage tax for that day. Considering the work-from-home mandate, many of these residents are owed reimbursement of wage tax withholding.

The Bucks County legislators feel the city is making it unnecessarily difficult for suburban residents to receive this refund of their wages, which they are entitled to under state law.

The legislators who joined Rep. Wendi Thomas (R-New Hope) by signing the letter include Reps. Frank Farry (R-Langhorne), Tina Davis (D-Levittown), John Galloway (D-Levittown), Shelby Labs (R-Doylestown), Todd Polinchock (R-Chalfont), Meghan Schroeder (R-Warminster), Craig Staats (R-Quakertown), K.C. Tomlinson (R-Bensalem), and Perry Warren (D-Yardley).

To prevent this issue from recurring in the future, Farry and Thomas have introduced legislation to amend the Sterling Act. House Bill 949 would require Philadelphia to reimburse the surrounding taxing jurisdictions that impose an earned income tax at a rate equivalent to that which would have been collected from commuting workers of their respective boroughs and townships.

Similar legislation is expected to be introduced in the state Senate.

 

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Results of U.S. Census Prompts Start of Redistricting Process

The results from the long-awaited 2020 census report from the U.S. Census Bureau are in, so that means the always hard-fought, and sometimes controversial, redistricting process has begun. The redrawing of legislative boundaries to reflect population changes over the past decade will impact state politics for years to come.

To kick off the process, legislative leaders must select a chair of the Legislative Reapportionment Commission (LRC). Every 10 years, this commission redraws the district maps for the state House of Representatives and Senate. The four current members of the LRC – the majority and minority leaders of both the House and Senate – are looking for the commission's fifth and final member; a Pennsylvania resident who is not an elected official and will chair the LRC as it redraws the legislative boundaries.

Legislative leaders began interviews on April 26, with 37 candidates interested in filling the open seat on the five-member commission. Public interviews are part of the legislative leaders’ stated commitment of opening up what had typically been a closed-door process. If the LRC members do not reach a decision by April 30 – and an inability to reach agreement regarding the fifth member is what has normally occurred in the past – the Pennsylvania Supreme Court appoints the chair. That decision must be made by May 30.

On the national level, Pennsylvania will lose a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives. Pennsylvania's slight 2.4% increase in population over the past decade means it will lose one of its 18 House seats to another state. It also means that for the next presidential election the state will have only 19 electoral votes. That makes the job of drawing new congressional districts even more difficult, as it will require one of the seats currently held by a lawmaker to be eliminated.

The seat loss in the U.S. House also affects the current 9-9 party split of the state's congressional seats. Adding to the difficulty is the fact that the state's new congressional district map must be adopted by the Republican-controlled state legislature and approved by Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf.

More detailed information from the Census Bureau for redistricting purposes will be released in the coming months.

 

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Bipartisan Working Group Launched in State House

A newly formed bipartisan caucus of state House members is looking to bridge the political divide in Harrisburg by working to build bipartisan relationships. The mission of the 16-member Pennsylvania One Caucus (eight Republicans and eight Democrats) is to facilitate strong bipartisan relationships, build support for shared ideas, and pass meaningful reforms that make lasting improvements for the Commonwealth and its people.

The caucus members are Reps. Thomas Mehaffie (R-Dauphin), Jared Solomon (D-Philadelphia), Joseph Ciresi (D-Montgomery), Pamela DeLissio (D-Philadelphia, Montgomery), Steven Malagari (D-Montgomery), Natalie Mihalek (R-Allegheny), Christopher Quinn (R-Delaware), Christopher Rabb (D-Philadelphia), Christina Sappey (D-Chester), Lynda Schlegel Culver (R-Snyder, Northumberland), Meghan Schroeder (R-Bucks), Melissa Shusterman (D-Montgomery, Chester), Wendi Thomas (R-Bucks), Kathleen Tomlinson (R-Bucks), Jesse Topper (R-Bedford, Franklin, Fulton), and Dan Williams (D-Chester).

While the group plans to focus initially on institutional reforms and rules changes, the lawmakers say they will seek to facilitate bipartisan agreements on legislative matters that come before the House. 

 

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About PICPA

The Pennsylvania Institute of Certified Public Accountants (PICPA) is a premier statewide association of more than 22,000 members working in public accounting, industry, government, and education. Founded in 1897, the PICPA is the second-oldest and fourth-largest state CPA organization in the United States.

Learn more about how you can become involved in the legislative process, through PICPA's Key Contact Program and CPA-PAC.

Contact the Government Relations Team at governmentrelations@picpa.org or (717) 232-1821.

Address:
500 N. 3rd St., Ste. 600A 
Harrisburg, PA 17101

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